The early labour movement had a hostile attitude to Robert Baden Powell's Scout movement - suspecting it of imperialism - and often heckled his meetings.

Baden Powell's brother George Smyth Baden Powell was the Tory MP for Liverpool Kirkdale from 1885 to 1898. In the 1892 general election, his only opposition was the Labour candidate T R Threlfall, president of the TUC in 1885. He seems also to have been the author of the contemporary potboilers The Great Magician and The Sword of Allah. The Bristol Mercury said he was "worthy of Rider Haggard", but the New York Times said his books were not "conspicuous for literary merit".

Ida Copeland was twice on the International Council of Girl Guides and gave her family estate to the organisation. She became the somewhat surprising Tory MP for Stoke-on-Trent in the 1931 general election, helped by 10,000 votes for Oswald Mosley, in the best result for his failed New Party.

This article first appeared in the 05 July 2010 issue of the New Statesman, The cult of the generals